Reuters clarifies budget iPhone story: Apple won’t blindly pursue marketshare

iphone user

And the plot continues to thicken. After two major news outlets ran stories earlier this week claiming that Apple was working on a less-expensive iPhone, Reuters reported that the company had no such plans, citing comments made to a Chinese newspaper by Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller.

But as most of you know, Reuters retracted the report earlier today. It was unclear at the time why it had chosen to remove the story, but it’s attempting to clear things up this afternoon with a new report called “Apple won’t blindly pursue market share” that helps shed some light on what happened…

From the latest Reuters report:

“On Thursday, the Shanghai Evening News cited Schiller as saying that Apple would not develop a cheaper smartphone for the sake of expanding its market share.

That appeared to undermine other recent media reports indicating that Apple was working on a low-end smartphone, which would represent a significant shift in strategy for a company that has always focused on premium products.

But in a new version of the story published after the original, the Shanghai Evening News removed all references to cheaper smartphones, except for a mention of a “cheaper, low-end product.” It also amended its original headline from “Apple will not push a cheaper smartphone for the sake of market share,” to “Apple wants to provide the best products, will not blindly pursue market share.”

Here’s the kicker: Apple confirmed with Reuters that the original Schiller interview had taken place and that it had contacted the Chinese newspaper about amending its original article, but had no further comment and declined to provide a transcript of the interview. Yeah, that’s kind of fishy.

If you’re Apple, why would you go out of your way to get a report — which basically said that you’re not making a low-end iPhone — amended? Is it because the Cupertino company is, in fact, working on a low-end iPhone? It didn’t contact The Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg to alter their budget iPhone stories.

Of course, Apple could have just been trying clarify the story for the sake of clarification. But as you know, the company rarely comments on, or responds to, rumors as they typically spawn intense speculation. So just the fact that it did it in the first place was kind of strange.

In a newly published quote today, Schiller was cited as saying, “We will not discuss plans for any future products.” There, now that sounds more like the Apple we know.

What do you make of all of this?